The greens of summers

by Russ Roberts on June 22, 2009

in Technology

Kodachrome is going away.

Haven't used it in a long while. But I still get a nostalgia pang, partly because of the song. But it's a small pang. I love my digital camera and the thousands of pictures I've taken at virtually zero marginal cost.

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LowcountryJoe June 24, 2009 at 9:27 am

>>Ah, but professor, you've forgotten to include the cost of time. That is the time it now takes you to look thru the thousands of pictures to find the few you'd like to actually use.<<

He did write the word "virtually" before writing zero marginal cost.

Keith Belmont June 24, 2009 at 11:30 am

James, good catch. But I was really just kidding him a bit anyway. ;-)

Jacob Oost June 25, 2009 at 1:18 am

Why are you taking bad pictures? Shooting on film makes me take only the best pictures I can (unless I'm experimenting with tricky exposures), because I have the incentive to get it right in the camera. I've heard digital photographers say that shooting digital made them lazier. I also think that digital photographers, for the most part, don't pay nearly as much attention to exposure and composition as those of us who still shoot on film. Probably because they treat the camera like a video camera, finding shots through the viewfinder rather than with their eyes, using auto exposure, etc.

I'm not trashing digital photography or digital photographers, digital has come a long, long way in the past ten years, and the day I can no longer get quality affordable prints locally I'll save up for a good DSLR, BUT a true cost benefit analysis shows that digital actually comes at quite a high cost. I could shoot dozens of rolls of film (and 90% of those would be shots I like and want to keep) and have high-quality digital scans on CD for the cost of just the DSLR. Not to mention the cost of forgoing photography while I'm saving up (this assumes I have a relatively fixed photography budget, which I kinda do).

Anyway, after sunk costs, yeah, the marginal cost is low (assuming you don't want quality prints of your digital photos), but PRE-sunk costs it's pretty high and the camera doesn't start "paying for itself" for longer than you might think.


Fred June 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Kodachrome has some pretty nasty chemistry as I recall.

anon June 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Surely Congress can bail out Kodak and force it to manufacture Kodachrome.

Keith Belmont June 23, 2009 at 11:49 am

I take many more pictures than I did with film, like you, because the "marginal cost" is zero.

Ah, but professor, you'ver forgotten to include the cost of time. That is the time it now takes you to look thru the thousands of pictures to find the few you'd like to actually use.

Time that may be better spent. :-)

James Hanley June 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm

My brother, a fine amateur photographer, also (mildly) laments the end of kodachrome, and post the last picture he ever took with it, of a bison grazing on the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park.

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